Friday, April 15, 2016

Moby Dick Ch. 88: Schools and Schoolmasters

The following is from a work-in-progress called "Moby Dick: a Book Report" in which I read each chapter of Herman Melville's classic novel Moby Dick, and write about what I read.

In this chapter, Ishmael describes different social organizations of whales and how they group together.  These groups are called “schools”.  The first type of school consists of one full-grown male and a bunch of smaller females, who are sort of like his harem.  He impregnates them at will in an effort to produce as many offspring as possible.  Alpha whale of this type leave most of the nursing and raising duties to their females.  Occasionally, another alpha whale will challenge the “Lord” of a harem and the two will viciously fight—to the victor goes the ladies.

Another type of school consists entirely of young adult males.  They travel together quite recklessly, like a college fraternity.  When they reach full maturity, each male goes in search of his own harem.  When male whales reach advanced age, past their sexual prime, they tend to go solo, wandering the world alone, like repentant monks.

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